They were cherished companions of philanthropist Randall B. Terry, Jr., the nine Golden Retrievers he named for figures in Greek mythology—Achilles, Ajax, Apollo, Athena, Diana, Nike, Rumor, Venus, and Zeus.
Now there are none. Diana, the last of the Terry goldens, died peacefully July 2 while resting under a favorite shade tree on Mr. Terry’s estate.
The death of a dog is always sad and Diana’s passing is also notable because she represents the last direct connection to Mr. Terry, who died in 2004. The passion Mr. Terry felt for Diana and her brothers and sisters led the businessman and High Point newspaper publisher to usher a new era in companion animal health care at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM).
When Nike became ill in 1998, Mr. Terry’s veterinarian referred him to the Internal Medicine Service at what was then NC State’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH). The care and compassion Nike received impressed Mr. Terry and led him to become a friend and supporter of the CVM. He joined and then became president of the North Carolina Veterinary Medicine Foundation (NCVMF), a group organized to attract funding for the CVM.
As NCVMF president, Mr. Terry became aware that the limitations of the VTH did not reflect the quality of care, the demands of an increasing case load, or the educational requirements of one of the nation’s top-ranked veterinary colleges. He advocated for a veterinary medical center that would be “an outstanding environment in which our faculty and students can promote animal health” and initiated a personal campaign to build the facility.
In the fall of 2005, a year after Mr. Terry’s death, the R.B. Terry, Jr. Charitable Foundation provided the CVM with a $20 million pledge to initiate Mr. Terry’s vision of a state of the art veterinary medical center. An innovative public/ private partnership of state appropriations from the 2006 North Carolina General Assembly and private giving supported the building of the 100,000-square foot Randall B. Terry, Jr. Companion Animal Veterinary Medical Center.
“Randall Terry, Jr. had options for his legacy, and because he loved his Golden Retrievers, he knew the direction he wanted to follow,” says Susan Lilly, the CVM executive director of development. “He envisioned a NC State College of Veterinary Medicine that would be a leader in companion animal health. His publicly stated belief—‘Animals give so much to mankind, it’s only fitting that we give back something to them. This new veterinary medical center will help enhance the medical care they receive’—provided a passionate voice to our campaign to build the Terry Center.
“More than three million North Carolina residents share their home with pets,” Lilly continues. “Every animal’s life we at NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine can improve or extend, has Mr. Terry’s love of his dogs and his compelling vision for companion animal health care to thank.”